This particular set, crafted by Alphonse Mucha at the height of his fame, adheres to both its name and Mucha's artistic tenor by seeking to personify concepts worthy of artistic expression through the use of beautiful, semi-nude women in long, flowing garments.
Similarly, Mucha's ethos that art is not a pastime for only the rich-of-pocket and high-of-birt but should be enjoyed by all is preserved in his choice of medium, if not in material.
One thousand and fifty copies were printed. One thousand on vellum; fifty on satin.
There is, perhaps, a notable connection between The Arts and another set of Mucha panneaux décratif - "The Times of the Day." That connection lies within the circular motif at the head of each panel within "The Arts," which signifies the relevant time of day and features a floral pattern.
For "Painting," this is full, fresh daylight and flowers of a rich red. Based on these motifs, it was Mucha's belief that Dance; was best done in the morning, Painting; in full daylight, Poetry; at dusk and Music; when the Moon shined and the strongest stars came into veiw.
In "Painting," itself, a red-haired young woman sits in the light of the Sun admiring a red rose. The relative distance of the aforementioned rose and her hand implies some sort of comparison.
The palette used is very warm: red hair, red rose and red dress are surely seeking to give some insight into the lustre of art or the artist.
The particularly revealing dress clings to her shoulders and falls loosely around her figure before trailing, in billowing heaps to the bottom of the scene and out of view.